I took today’s picture of my 4 year old granddaughter. We were in a hallway at the hotel in Laguna Nigel, having just arrived, and we were on the way to our room when we passed by this window on the ocean side of the hotel. My granddaughter immediately turned to the window, went up to it, put her hands on it and pressed her face to the window to get a better view of the beach and ocean 150 feet below the hotel. Pictures like this break my heart. Why is that? I’m not sure, but let me venture a guess:
I was sick a lot as a kid when I lived in Iowa. There was some problem with my lungs that made them weak and when the cold weather came in late fall and winter, I’d get very ill. I missed lots of school each year and even when I could go to school, during recess times, I recall standing at the window of the school, looking out at my classmates playing joyfully in the crisp autumn air or frolicking in the snow. I couldn’t join them – doctor’s orders. How I longed to be part of the merriment! They’d come storming back in from recess, cheeks a ruddy red from the cold, pulling off their mittens and coats and stocking caps, chattering about what they’d played and laughing all the time.
Me? All I’d gotten to do was look out the window at others having fun.
Is that why pictures such as this haunt me? The glass of the window just as well have been a stone wall for me – in fact, that would have been better because I wouldn’t have been able to see the fun others were having. I’d have been left only with imaginings. I’m not sure which would have been more painful. The glass separates my granddaughter from the warm sunlight, the sound of the surf, the cry of the seagulls, the sand-castles waiting to be built and the waves to be dodged. I wanted to just scoop her up in my arms and run down to the beach right away.
Fortunately, it wasn’t long and we did just that. We made sure she had plenty of beach time. Perhaps that makes up for some of the days she’ll stand looking out other windows but be prevented by one reason or another from going out and joining in the world. I hope she’ll remember her time at the beach…and be warm and sun-filled all the days of her life! That would be my desire for all the world’s children.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1923, outside Chicago’s Biograph Theatre, notorious criminal John Dillinger–America’s “Public Enemy No. 1”–was killed in a hail of bullets fired by federal agents. In a fiery bank-robbing career that lasted just over a year, Dillinger and his associates robbed 11 banks for more than $300,000, broke jail and narrowly escaped capture multiple times, and killed seven police officers and three federal agents.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the Swine Flu vaccine that was used in 1976 caused more death and illness than the disease it was intended to prevent.